Elections: Making Sense of the Senseless

I have no profound insight to offer as a result of the election, but was thinking about the main presidential candidates and what they represent.  I read a sapiential comment from the desert fathers which made me think about candidates in the election.  As with many sagacious sayings one has appreciate them by meditating on them.

It is why art museums place benches in the galleries – to give the viewer time to take the art in, to appreciate the details and all that is captured in the art. [Interesting that a bench gives us time!]   Or, it is why one has to sit in the garden for a bit to fully appreciate all the colors, scents, movements of the flowers to truly imbibe all that is being offered to us.

Though I read this some days before the election and I thought it relevant to our election, it didn’t help me decide how to vote for I remained unconvinced that our candidates possessed all the virtues praised here.

An old man used to say, ‘Wisdom and simplicity form the perfect order of the Apostles’ and of those who examine closely their rules of life and their conduct, and to this Christ urged them, saying, Be  harmless as doves and subtle like serpents (St. Matthew 10:16). And the Apostle [Paul] also admonished the Corinthians to the same effect, saying, ‘My brethren, be not childish in your minds, but be as  babes in respect of things which are evil, and be perfect in your minds’ (1 Corinthians 14:20). Now wisdom without simplicity is wicked cunning, and it is the subtlety of the philosophers among the pagans of which it is said, He catches the wise men in their own cunning (Job 5:13; 1 Corinthians 3:19), and again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain (Psalm 94:2; 1 Corinthians 3:20).

And simplicity without wisdom is the foolishness which is prone to error, and concerning this also  the Apostle spoke, and he wrote unto those who possessed it,  saying, I fear lest, even as the serpent led Eve into error by his craftiness, so your minds also may be destroyed in respect of your simplicity which is towards Christ (2 Corinthians 6:3). For they accepted every word without testing it, even as it is said in the [Book of] Proverbs, The simple man believes every word “ (Proverbs 14:15).     (adapted from The Paradise or Garden of the Holy Fathers (Volume 2), Kindle Loc. 3403-13)

There is a difference between wisdom and intelligence just as there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.  In the wisdom of the desert fathers there was a recognition that even wisdom had to be combined with other virtues to be of value.  A criminal can be very wise and knowledgeable about his illegal activities.  Politicians can be astutely wise but that can mean only that they are wickedly cunning if they lack integrity and humility.  There can even be a person who has a certain simple straightforwardness but who lacks wisdom – that becomes nothing more than total foolishness.  Folly is sin according to the Bible (Proverbs 24:9; Mark 7:22)

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